This partnership looks beyond getting children back in school, focusing on learning, child development and well-being. Ethiopia will be one of the pilot countries for the partnership. Photo UNICEF Ethiopia.

Education Cannot Wait and Porticus announce new partnership focused on measuring holistic learning outcomes for children and youth caught in protracted crises and emergencies

27 February 2020, New York – To improve learning outcomes for girls and boys caught in emergencies and protracted crises, Education Cannot Wait (ECW) is now partnering with the global philanthropic organization Porticus to develop, test and document fit-for-purpose solutions towards measuring the learning of children in crises-affected countries.

The pilot programme will be implemented in three countries between 2020 and 2022, as  part of ECW’s Acceleration Facility. Bangladesh and Ethiopia are shortlisted, and a third country is in the process of being selected.

“There is a growing global movement to address the pressing needs of the 75 million children and youth caught in crises who do not have consistent access to a quality education. This partnership looks beyond getting children back in school, focusing on learning, child development and well-being. This includes the measurement of progress in academic learning, but equally gives attention to psycho-social, as well as social and emotional domains of learning and development. With this focus on measurement we can better understand whether and how children being exposed to multiple risks and adversities can develop the academic, social and emotional skills and competencies needed to achieve their full potential. The results of measurement can inform concrete program design, as well as policy,” said Gerhard Pulfer, Porticus representative for Education in Displacement.

Porticus’ goal in the field of Education in Emergencies is to “to promote a transition towards holistic, quality education for displaced learners and host communities.” According to Pulfer, Porticus seeks education systems for displaced children that take responsibility for learning outcomes, and that encompass both academic and social and emotional learning.

Holistic Approaches

Learning is different and vastly more complex for children and youth caught in crises and emergencies, including armed conflict, forced displacement and climate-change induced disasters. Stress, trauma, fear and anxiety make it hard for them to concentrate in school and learn. Of greater concern, too many girls and boys are simply left behind and excluded from the hope, opportunity and protection that a quality learning environment provides.

To address these challenges, ECW supports Multi-Year Resilience Programmes (MYRPs) that use a ‘whole-of-child’ approach to deliver quality education to children and youth affected by emergencies and protracted crises.  These MYRPs focus on increasing access, teaching capacity, conducive school environments, more relevant curricula, tailored learning material, physical and emotional safety, as well as other aspects related to school feeding, and water and sanitation in schools.

Together with its partners – including host governments, United Nations agencies, public and private donors, civil society organizations and non-profits – ECW has launched MYRPs in 10 crisis-affected countries to date and plans to expand its support to a total 25 countries by 2021.

The new partnership between Porticus and ECW will measure the effect of these initiatives and provide a better understanding of what is working and is not working for children caught in emergencies and protracted crises to learn.

To do so, the partnership will take a holistic approach to measure learning outcomes, looking beyond academic achievements in literacy and numeracy to also include aspects of social-emotional learning. The social-emotional aspect is often overlooked in stable settings and requires specific attention for children affected by conflict. These skills include self-awareness, emotional regulation and respect for others, as well as interpersonal skills such as listening and conflict resolution. They also include skills such as critical and creative thinking, goal setting, study skills, teamwork and time management.

“Every child and young person have a right and need to enjoy an education that is holistic and addresses the full spectrum of developmental needs. The fact that they are caught in war zones, forced displacement or natural disasters does not remove their right to a quality education. On the contrary, a quality education is the only hope and viable solution left,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “As we supercharge ideas to create solutions as part of the UN’s Decade of Action, we must  improve our evidence base and adjust approaches accordingly. This is part of our global promise to leave no one behind, and to ensure not just universal and equitable access to an education, but also universal and equitable access to a quality education.”

Partnerships for the Future

Porticus and ECW will work in close collaboration with in-country partners as well as global actors to ensure broad exposure, inclusive feedback and close collaboration as the partnership is implemented. Lessons learned through the partnership will be shared across a broad group of relevant stakeholders.

To kickstart the partnership, Porticus is granting EUR1 million (approximately US$1.1 million) to ECW. ECW will co-fund this valuable partnership with a US$500,000 investment.

As the partnership develops, both Porticus and ECW intend to broaden and grow the collaboration, to mainstream and accelerate best practices and help ensure children and youth caught in crises benefit from improved learning outcomes.

Bangladesh, where ECW supports a multi-year resilience programme for Rohingya refugees and host communities, is also targeted as part for the partnership. Photo UNICEF.


IGAD Executive Secretary Amb. Mahboub M. Maalim and Education Cannot Wait Director Yasmine Sherif.

The partnership will support the implementation of the United Nations’ Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework and the Djibouti Declaration in a region that hosts 7.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons

24 September 2019, New York – Education Cannot Wait (ECW) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) signed a partnership agreement today on the sidelines of the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to enhance regional cooperation and accelerate more effective education investments for refugees and displaced children and youth across the eight countries of the IGAD region.

The first-of-its-kind, this agreement provides a regional work approach across the eight members states of IGAD­ – Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda – a region where there are approximately 7.5 million refugees and internally displaced persons.

“No child can be left behind as we ramp up efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Through education – and partnerships like this – we can break the cycle of exclusion and vulnerability that comes with forced displacement and has often derailed and delayed social, economic and human development in the region,” said IGAD Executive Secretary Amb. Mahboub M. Maalim.

The partnership will promote access to education for refugees, returnees and internally displaced children and youth, as agreed in the Djibouti Declaration and the Addis Ababa Call for Action. It will support IGAD member states in increasing global, regional and country-level cooperation to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 4 for universal quality education (SDG4) as part of the implementation of the UN’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF).

“The IGAD region is one of the most affected by forced displacement in the world. In such a context, a regional approach is crucial for addressing education needs of uprooted children and youth in a comprehensive and sustainable manner across borders,” said Yasmine Sherif, Director of Education Cannot Wait. “Together with IGAD and our partners in the region who are responding to displacement – including governments, UN agencies, philanthropic and private sector actors and civil society – we will scale up our investments and support their efforts to achieve inclusive and equitable quality education for every child.”

The new ECW – IGAD partnership is designed to inspire more political commitment and financial resources for educational responses in the region, and to strengthen joint advocacy and capacity development. It builds on the successful model of the Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities  developed by the Government of Uganda jointly with humanitarian and development aid partners with ECW’s support.

At this year’s UN General Assembly, world leaders are taking stock of progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals. Despite the considerable progress on education access and participation over the past years, 262 million children and youth aged 6 to 17 were still out of school in 2017. In all 75 million children and youth in crisis-affected countries don’t have access to a quality education.

Education Cannot Wait is scaling up education-in-emergencies responses across the world and has already reached over 1.5 million children and youth. A number of crisis-affected and forcibly displaced children and youth in IGAD Member States already benefit from ECW investments, including Ethiopia, Somalia and Uganda, with planned multi-year responses under development for South Sudan and Sudan.

The Uganda Model
Last year Education Cannot Wait worked with the Government of Uganda, humanitarian and development aid organizations, civil society and other partners to develop Uganda’s ground-breaking Education Response Plan for Refugees and Host Communities. ECW contributed US$11 million in seed funding to support the launch of the plan, which seeks to mobilize a total of US$389 million to reach more than 560,000 refugee and host community children and youth in the country. Additional ECW funding is planned over the next two years.

The partnership will empower other countries in the bloc to use the lessons learned from Uganda’s education response to better meet the needs of refugee and displaced children through national education plans, refugee and/or humanitarian response plans.
Note to Editors:
About Education Cannot Wait (ECW):
ECW is the first global, multi-lateral fund dedicated to education in emergencies. It was launched by international humanitarian and development aid actors, along with public and private donors, to address the urgent education needs of 75 million children and youth in conflict and crisis settings. ECW’s investment modalities are designed to usher in a more collaborative approach among actors on the ground, ensuring relief and development organizations join forces to achieve education outcomes. Education Cannot Wait is hosted by UNICEF. The Fund is administered under UNICEF’s financial, human resources and administrative rules and regulations, while operations are run by the Fund’s own independent governance structure. 

Additional information is available at www.educationcannotwait.org and www.act4education.org
Follow us on Twitter: @EduCannotWait
About the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD):
IGAD supports inclusive education and is committed to the United Nation’s Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF, Sept. 2016) and committed to mobilizing high level political commitment among its member states. The IGAD secretariat is committed to supporting Member States in the implementation of the Djibouti Declaration and the Addis Ababa Call for Action, through coordination, monitoring and follow up of the development of national inclusive costed plans, recognized regional certification, policy development, established minimum standards for refugees, returnees, IDPs and host communities.
For press enquiries, contact:
Anouk Desgroseilliers, adesgroseilliers@educationcannotwait.org , +1 917 640-6820
Kent Page, kpage@unicef.org
For any other enquiries, contact: